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Senator Duckworth: “I Would Think That the President’s Counsel Would Want to Call Witnesses in Order to Exonerate Him” | U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois

January 25, 2020

Duckworth calls for witnesses and documents in impeachment trial so both sides can present their case

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, after the first day of hearing from the President’s lawyers in the impeachment trial, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) reiterated her call for witnesses and documents so both sides can present their case to the American people. The House managers spent three days presenting a strong argument for the President’s guilt and it is now the defense team’s turn to bring new witnesses and documents that could exonerate him. In part, Duckworth said: “I would think that the President’s counsel would want to call witnesses in order to exonerate him. That they would want to show us the evidence that proves his innocence.”

Senator Duckworth also took the opportunity to defend Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, who has been attacked by Republican Senators during the trial: “It is a soldier’s duty to carry out the missions and orders that he is given, but it is also his duty to question unlawful orders and to speak up when he thinks that something is wrong. And some of my colleagues have attacked him because he did what he thought was right. That is not acceptable, that is un-American.”

Clip of Senator Duckworth’s full remarks here and text is included below.

  • Before I talk about my reaction to the president counsel presentation today, I want to say one thing about the attacks on Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and the questioning of his loyalty to this country.
  • It’s a soldier’s duty to carry out the mission and orders that he is given. It is also his duty to question unlawful orders and to speak up when he thinks that something is wrong.
  • Some of my colleagues have attacked him because he did what he thought was right. That’s not acceptable, that is un-American.
  • Ambassador Taylor served with honor in Vietnam, and he, I think, also remembers a lesson about people who carried out orders that were unlawful. The My Lai massacre is one of those lessons.
  • Let me make it clear, you may not agree with the witnesses, but we do not attack them, especially a combat Veteran’s service and dedication and duty to this country.
  • That said, America is about freedom and justice. We are about what is right.
  • I’ve served on a jury, I’ve been jury foreman in a trial, and one of the things we had in a jury were witnesses and documents. And both sides were able to present their case.
  • I would think the President’s counsel and the President’s team would want to call him in order to exonerate him. They would want to show us the evidence that proves his innocence.
  • Instead of this. [holds up redacted pages] This is what we get. Highly redacted statements from members of the administration that we cannot even read what’s under there. Show us. Show us the evidence that proves the president’s innocence.
  • Many people are getting their news solely on Fox News and are not getting the full story of the trial because they are not even airing the trial. I think those folks would want to see witnesses and hear from witnesses and hear and see the cross-examination.
  • That’s the American thing to do. You get to face your accusers, you get to bring your documents, your witnesses and you get to make your case. Let’s do it.
  • The final presenter this morning talked about how rushed the House trial was at 70 plus days. And there was such a rush to get to the end because we wanted to go home for Christmas. Well, then let’s not rush the process.
  • Let’s go ahead and take the time and let the American democracy work. So the rest of the world can see that in America, no one is above the law. But also in America, everyone gets a chance to present their witnesses, gets a chance to have their say. Let’s show that to the world. What America and American justice is about.
  • After all, we have the absolute right person presiding right now, the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Who better? When is the better time? Now is the time. Let’s have the witnesses. Let’s have the full documents 

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